My life threatened for refusing my daughters to undergo FGM/C


I am a Gambian father of six, four boys and two girls who has been recently going threats for preventing my daughters from undergoing Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).

I was recently approached by some relatives members who want me to allow my daughters to be circumcised but my refusal resulted in a brawl and my life threatened.

“We will kill you spiritually or use any possible means if you want to trivialize the significance of circumcision in our society,” they threatened.

FGM/C is deep-rooted in the culture of people of Sambang, Niamina district, Central River Region of The Gambia  where I was born.

As the first person to have girl children who have not undergone the practice, I am faced with a very difficult situation to the point that I had to move my family away from my relatives to safe my kids.

This followed the September 11, 2023 motion supported by several members of the National Assembly of The Gambia in their attempt to repeal Women’s Amendment Act 2015 that prohibits and punishes the practice FGM/C in the country.

The legal prohibition of FM/C was as a result of rigorous advocacy by women’s rights defenders and organizations in the country.

Despite the fact that it’s harmfulness has been proven by scientific and social research some members of our National Assembly are very resolute to repeal the law that criminalists the practice.

The lawmakers should remember that Gambia has obligations as a State Party under several international and regional human rights instruments such as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and the UN Convention for the Elimination of al forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

National Human Rights Commission of the country said these instruments obligate The Gambia to create the enabling policy and legal frameworks and the environment for the promotion, protection, and fulfillment of the rights of women and children.

Some Islamic scholars supported the move of the National Assembly members, arguing that the practice is religious rather than cultural.

For me, this has put our daughters in danger as the negative health effect of FGM/C can make the sexual and reproductive difficult for ever.

I am leaving no stone unturned to protect my daughters but I am still living with the fear of them being abducted anytime because the circumcisers have been already emboldened by the advocacy of National Assembly and some religious leaders to carryout the practice.


Surahata Fatty
Combo North District
West Coast Region


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